Following the PLG Grand Arena at the 3rd annual Middle East Film and Comic Con, we will look to reproduce and refine on an even bigger and better scale in the future. The team already reconvened with the majority of partners and sponsors, following the commitment to raise the bar up to a whole new level for a 3rd successive year, after 2013′s highlights included an award winning Warner Bros Injustice Tournament across the region, climaxing at last years Comic-Con. This came off the back of a regional Call of Duty Tour with the largest prize pool to date in the region and the annual FIFA Tour that expands every year with EA Sports.
Planning: We planned this event over the course of a 6 month period, alongside the venue and host (MEFCC), sponsors, publishers and leading suppliers in the market. MEFCC and PLG share a simple objective to go bigger and better every year, trying new ideas, involving the right mix of talent and expertise to keep the momentum going. Investing in the right partners in the market with long term commitments is how we believe the eSports scene can grow.
Team Work: It is very much a collective effort and the focus is on improving with every event, month by month, year after year. It took in excess of 100 staff covering, Technical, Audio Visual, IT, Marketing, PR, Security, Filming, Commentary and many more disciplines to achieve this, everyone playing their role. Combine this with all the industry contributions from around the world big or small and people begin to understand that competitive gaming as an entertainment and commercial enterprise on this scale is extremely difficult to achieve. We believe we are close to a formula now that is sustainable and this is exciting.
Fanta Masters: 16 masters emerged as scheduled, all winning a PlayStation 4 and FIFA 14, to mark the start of what is set to be a truly special enterprise for competitive gamers across the region. Few large scale event organizers in the region give out large cash sums and or high value prizes, with clear evidence in every case over the past 3 years. Honoring all our prize commitments to players where they are entitled to them, means existing players return knowing they are in for bigger and better rewards, while new players will come to learn our commitments are genuine. We hope to see this trend followed universally in the region by all organizers.
“Beat the Masters”: Then another four Xbox One consoles and four Turtle Beach XP7 Headsets were awarded to Team Pulse for beating Chaoz Gaming in the Main Arena from the Call of Duty : Ghosts face off. All Fanta Masters including three leading teams Chaoz, Klarity and Pulse move forward to join other Masters from across the region, as the qualifiers continue. We know many other players across the region that are itching to challenge these teams, they will get their chance very soon.
Team Alliance: The DOTA 2 tournament was an invitational for 3 leading teams selected by TTesports to play The International 2013 World Champions Team Alliance. This drew thousands of fans to watch the matches, with new commentators proving their ability for the first time and really entertaining the audience. Numerous volunteers for commentary duty in future surprised us with their chemistry in the mic as different combinations were tried out. It was Comic-Con after all so it was nice to give people their thirty minutes of fame in front of thousands of supporters.
Believe it or not?: For weeks players did not believe Alliance were coming to Dubai, but we delivered them as promised. It was fully communicated to team representatives and management that this was invitational only and all parties were made aware of this, including sponsors. Fans understandably were anxious to meet Team Alliance and they got their chance at the HyperX stand, though we just wish they had more time to play additional teams. The reason for the third pre-selected team leaving Comic-Con on the second day and not playing Alliance on Friday’s final match is lost in speculation and rumor.
Sponsored Gifts: There was a clear intention with gifts such as GPUs and or RAM from our sponsors. On the day this was fully intended for the crowd only, the plan for follow on tournaments was always promised by sponsors to feature these prizes for the players (these dates will be announced soon). The partners are fully committed to their program with us for more hardcore players, but also bringing casual players / spectators closer to the experience is a refreshing focus, when at times they can feel left out or alienated when things get to serious.
Technical Gremlins: We are investigating with the venue services and technical team some issues encountered, this is for the good of all events in future. Our partners and sponsors are seeking answers from the venue as to why we had sudden network down time while internet connections were very stable. Players and fans look to PLG to ensure these things do not happen on the day or in the future. With such inconsistency in the region, it starts with the experience at each venue looking to host such new activities. No conclusion has been reached yet as to where the issues originated and until we know for sure no one is pointing fingers. The venue is being extremely supportive and professional in proactively investigating to improve conditions for the future.
Titanfall and eSports? Featured for the full three days in partnership with Xbox and EA, we had our fingers crossed for the private lobbies to enable us scheduling team match ups from our top FPS players, but sadly this did not arrive in time for the Comic Con. EA works very closely with PLG to ensure we do our best for the regions players, and we considered a 6 v 6 for Battlefield 4, but due to the focus on Titanfall from Xbox and partnership with NVIDIA GeForce for the PC version, it was not viable at this event to run our AMD setups for Battlefield 4 (note that AMD are committed to showing this off very soon to fans).
League of Legends: Finally, the League of Legends prize of 25,000 AED was announced with a 10,000 AED for the runners up. 8 teams pre-selected by TTesports were sorted to brackets on the Saturday and final matches began on the same day. Due to the network conditions at the venue that arose, a swift decision was taken to put the continuation of the tournament to a vote. Players voted publicly, and unanimously to suspend the tournament, prize money intact and inclusive of the full years sponsorship communicated pre-event. PLG and the sponsors fully intend to honor the request of the majority of players and fix a date for players to conclude this competition.
Fight Titles? We received a large amount of queries about fighting titles, while featuring Warner Bros franchises Injustice and Mortal Kombat over the 3 days, unfortunately we just simply do not have the answers to many key questions fans posed: “When is the next Mortal Kombat?” or “Will Capcom support more tournaments in the region?” We have only read and heard the news in the public domain, but come E3 2014 this summer, there are sure to be some big announcements. Warner Bros in particular have invested in the region to see their franchises sustained long term and we hope to see the fight scene reemerge with the next generation of titles on the horizon.